JAMIE BHATTI admits it’s something of a novelty having a weekend off only three games into the season.

But with a run of 13 matches coming up, the Edinburgh prop knows he and his teammates will have to be on the top of their game if they want to make their presence felt in the Guinness Pro 14 and the European Challenge Cup.

Edinburgh have made a solid start to the season – wins against Zebre and Cardiff before losing heavily to defending champions Leinster leaves the capital side sitting fourth in Conference B and Bhatti admits that despite their defeat to the Irish side, he is content with their start to the season.

“We started really well against Zebre and Cardiff and last week against Leinster, I wouldn’t say we played bad, but Leinster are a good team and if you give them a sniff that is what they will do, they will put 40 points on you in the blink of an eye," the prop said.

“In the three weeks we have played well in the forward pack, the set piece has been good and the backs have been playing some good rugby, but there is still plenty to work on.”

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill has been vocal about his plans to encourage his side to play a more expansive style of play this season and Bhatti admits it is a game-style that suits him down to the ground.

“As a forward it is good because you get on the ball and we have good shaping off 10. So when it works, it works really well, we know we can go round teams and through them as well.”

Bhatti signed for Edinburgh in the summer after spending three seasons at Glasgow Warriors and he began this season coming off the back of a major disappointment. The internationalist, who has won 13 caps for Scotland, failed at the last hurdle to make Gregor Townsend’s squad for the World Cup and the 26-year-old admitted it wasn’t an easy blow to recover from.

“I phoned Richard (Cockerill) after missing out on going to Japan and he told me to take the week off and then come back in the following Monday refreshed,” he recalls.

“I did get away from it all, I went to Mallorca just to get some sun and relax. It [the World Cup] is still on your mind when you are back here because it is popping up on social media and you are watching the games which can be tough, but it helped coming in here to a new environment rather than dwelling on it.”

There may only be a few dozen miles between Bhatti’s old club and his new one but there are, he says a number of differences between the two pro sides.

A major focus at Edinburgh is the physical conditioning side of things and Bhatti admits he is relishing the opportunity to become an even better athlete than he currently is.

“I’d say the strength and conditioning is one of the differences between the two clubs, there is a massive focus on S & C here which is good,” he said.

“Personally it helps me to keep at a good playing weight - if you are strong and fit then you will perform at the weekend."

Bhatti’s World Cup disappointment may now be behind him but with the Six Nations on the horizon, the prospect of regaining a spot in the Scotland team has crept into the prop’s mind. But he is well aware that the only way to get back into Townsend’s plans is to make sure he is playing well for his club side over the coming months.

“I want to push to be back in the Scotland squad and I want to have the number one shirt too," he said.

So I have to do the small bits first; my fitness, my body composition and be as fit and as strong as possible.

"I need to get game time [at Edinburgh] first so that I am heading into the Six Nations on form. My main focus just now is doing well for Edinburgh and if I do that then Scotland stuff will come with it, I’m sure."